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The legacy of Jackie Robinson today

Photo courtesy of USAJaguars.com

Photo courtesy of USAJaguars.com

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The Brooklyn Dodgers took the eld on a bright sunny day to play against the Boston Braves, on April 14, 1947. The twenty five  thousand people in bbets Field watched Jackie Robinson taking the field.

When Robinson ran on to the baseball field, he did something many at the time thought couldn’t be done: he desegregated America’s Game at a time when, in much of the country, African-Americans couldn’t even go to the same res- taurant, use the same bathrooms or attend the same schools as Caucasians.

He followed that appearance with a nine-year career in professional baseball, playing 1,382 games, hit- ting 137 home runs and posting a career average of .311.

But Robinson refused to stop there, during the 1947 season Rob- inson posted a .297 batting average 12 home runs and 29 stolen bases to become the National League Rookie of the Year. Two years a er he became the rst African-American to play for a Major League Baseball, team Robinson was named the National League Player of the Year, earned a World Series Ring in 1955, and in 1962 he became the rst African- American player introduced into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

After Robinson’s death in 1972 the Dodgers retired his jersey and in 1997, 50 years a er breaking the color barrier, Robinson received one of the highest honors in all of baseball when the MLB officially retired his No. 42 jersey from the entire league.

In 2004, the MLB decided to pay further homage to Robinson by making April 15 Jackie Robinson day on which every player in the MLB puts on the No. 42 jersey and plays the game.

University of South Alabama baseball’s redshirt freshman Michael Sandle, discussed Robinson’s legacy to modern day African- American players

“It’s awesome doing something that powerful, and obviously huge for the game of baseball,” Sandle said when asked about Robinson’s
impact.”

Today in the world of sports,baseball is in decline, especially among African-Americans, accord- ing to a Gallup poll.

Viewership is down along with attendance at games in the past decade, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.

Baseball has been plagued by a decline in little league involvement according to reports in the New York Post. ere has also been a marked decline in African-American involvement according tolast- wordonsports.com.

In today’s MLB, only 8.1 percent of players are African-American as opposed to 18.7 percent in 1981, with higher numbers of African- Americans ocking to basketball or football, according to a recent article in Forbes Magazine.

Sandle, was also a standout foot- ball player at Navarre High School, setting NHS’s record for intercep- tions in a season and career inter- ceptions.

However, when it came time to choose what sport to play in college the decision to play baseball wasabout doing what he liked, accord- ing to Sandle.

“I grew to like baseball more,” Sandle said. “I never really saw it as a color thing. I just liked baseball a lot more.”

For baseball going forward, the question of how to deal with the racial bias doesn’t have an answer, and the critiques just keep coming.

“Baseball is a white man’s sport,” Baltimore Orioles out elder Adam Jones said during the 2017 season about why the protest were tak- ing place in the National Football League and National Basketball Association, but not the MLB.

So how does baseball become less of a “white man’s game.”

According to Sandle, the answer isn’t about race it’s just about encouragement.

“I wouldn’t make it about race,” Sandle said. “If you want to play baseball, play baseball. Do what makes you happy.”

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The legacy of Jackie Robinson today